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Zoo accepts gift to endow presidency

(KWMU photo)

By Rachel Lippmann, KWMU

St. Louis, MO – The St. Louis Zoo has accepted a gift from a local non-profit that will help pay the salary of the Zoo's top executive.

The $3 million from the Dana Brown Charitable Trust will go into the Zoo's endowment fund. The interest will be used to help pay President Jeffrey Bonner's $425,000 yearly salary.

Trust chair David Diener said the board recently changed its donating rules to allow for endowments. It's donated to several new animal habitats at the Zoo as well.

"Professorships have been endowed for years at universities, and we thought that this was a cutting-edge way to help the Zoo and to ensure the position of president is funded in years to come," Diener said. "Endowing the excellent leadership that the zoo has now, and has had historically is a great way to ensure the institution's future health."

A spokesman for the Association of Zoos and Aquariums said he's not aware of any other accredited zoos who have endowed presidencies. The St. Louis Zoo accepted a gift of more than $1 million from the Saigh Foundation last year to help pay the salary of the Children's Zoo curator.